Dilemma of an Indian iTunes Store Fan


Apple quietly made available Music and Movies on India iTunes Store.  India users didn’t have any clue until the Apple Device users started receiving  mail notifications from Apple.

Music collection on the store is not bad. Only problem,  user has to dig thru or try a search on his favourites. Surprised to see recent releases on regional music also on the store. But the default categories on the Music Section doesn’t help the user , unless he is looking for main stream music from Bollywood. Anybody of a different taste may rule out the store with a “minimal collection”, if he doesn’t dig deep into the store. International releases also seems to be exhaustive.

Video section seems skinny as of now. Not much from Bollywood and international titles. Hope this will improve over a period of time.

What’s really tempting for an Apple Device owner and movie enthusiast is the price. An HD version of a Hollywood title is around Rs 490, which is somewhere around one-third the price of its Blu-ray version. Quality ,  you cannot compare as the iTunes version is a  compressed version, but watchable.  Bollywood titles also seems to be reasonably priced.

The real problem is the closed ecosystem. Music is not of an issue as Apple is releasing non-DRM versions. But Movies are really pain-full.

For a person who likes to enjoy movies on his HDTV or Home Theatre, the current restriction is a real let down. On one side the tempting price and on the other side the lack of flexibility or choice in playing back your purchased movies.

Only options available for a user to enjoy his Movies purchased from iTunes are

  • Playback on the iDevices
  • Playing on your PC or Macs

If you want to enjoy them on your Home theatre, the options left are

  • Stream the Video and Audio from iDevices to Home theatre or TV thru Apple’s Digital AV Adaptor(Approx Rs 2300 + HDMI cable )
  • Utilize the HDMI / DVI connectors on your PC or Mac and feed the signal to your TV / Home Theatre thru HDMI or DVI cable

Some of the limitations on the above options are

  • iPad 2 and iPhone 4 outputs only 720p resolution
  • If you recently adopted iPhone 5 or iPad 4th generation then, currently no option to feed the HD Video/Audio to your HDTV / Home theatre, as Apple is yet to release Lightning compatible AV Digital adaptor.  Current version of Digital AV Adaptor with Lightning to 30-pin adaptor will not work.
  • PCs / Macs should have HDCP support to watch HD versions. If your current setup doesn’t support then choose SD versions for purchase or rent.

Another last option which again is not a standalone solution is Apple TV. This device is not yet available in India. Apple should be launching this in India soon as with the availability of Music and Movies , the usability  has improved from the device’s point of view.

But these again is quite restrictive. To enjoy your movies thru Apple TV

  • You need to enable Home Sharing on iTunes running on your PC  or Mac. That means to enjoy movies your PC should be running
  • Stream thru Airplay from iDevices to Apple TV. The restriction on iPad 2 and iPhone 4 may apply in this scenario also. Not confirmed.
  • The device doesn’t allow to playback your personal media on a hard disk, unless the same is imported to iTunes Library and shared thru Home Sharing.

XBMC has Airplay support, but I was not successful in Streaming Movies. Music was fine.

The current limitations in enjoying the purchased Movies on your HDTV or Home Theatre is a real roadblock.

I think, I’ll finally end up adding an Apple TV, as the temptation on the Pricing and convenience of Purchasing / Renting weighs out over any other route available now.

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